Advantages and Disadvantages of Laminate Floors

If you are looking to replace your floors and want a wood finish then you should consider either hardwood or laminate floors. The problems comes, however, in knowing which one to select and you will often receive conflicting advice. Many people including contractors often favor real hardwood floors, but this is doing laminate flooring a disservice as they have many useful features and properties which make them unique in the home. It is worth looking at both the advantages and disadvantages of laminate wood flooring before making your decision.

The following is a look at the comparison between laminated flooring and hardwood floors:

1. Materials: Laminate floors are manufactured by fixing a photographed image of wood on top of a laminated wood compound, whereas hardwoods are natural woods produced from trees. Although this may sound inferior, the photograph of the wood is very realistic and you will often have difficulty distinguishing the laminate from real wood unless it is very cheap and poor quality.

2. Durability: Laminate wood flooring has a lifespan of around twenty years whilst real wood flooring can last up to one hundred years or even more if looked after. Real wood floors also develop a patina with age and can look better as they get older.

3. Maintenance: Laminated flooring requires very little maintenance, just regular sweeping and wipe down with a damp cloth. People have reported to being able to still see footprints even after cleaning. Real wood requires a little more in the way of maintenance as they may need to be regularly re-finished with a wax or varnish product. It is possible, however, to buy wood flooring that is pre-finished and so requires less in the way of upkeep.

4. Refinishing: It is easy to refinish wooden floors and can often be simply done in a day. A laminate floor cannot be refinished or stained and would need to be replaced if the surface becomes damaged. The finishing on laminates is surprisingly tough and hard wearing though.

5. Repairing: Laminate flooring can only be repaired by removing the damaged sections and replacing with new. You will often need to remove a few planks just to replace one. Hardwood can be sanded and re-finished or damaged wood can be cut out and a section replaced with new wood. With laminates the problem then arises, say five, ten or fifteen years down the line when you want to replace some sections and you find the line is no longer manufactured. It is worthwhile, therefore, stocking up on spare pieces when you make your initial purchase.

6. Durability: Surprisingly laminate floors are more durable than hardwood floors. This is great if you have pets or children running around. They are also more resistant to attack from pests such as beetles and termites.

7. Cost: This is the beauty of laminated floors – they are a lot cheaper than the hardwood variety. If you are renovating or adding flooring on a budget then laminates are a way to get a wood effect without the cost. When it comes to re-sale of your house, though, a real wood floor will add significant value and appeal.

8. Installation: Laminates are quick and easy to install than hardwood. They are simply placed on a floating surface or even an existing floor whereas hardwoods need to be nailed down and the old flooring removed prior to installation.

Overall both types of flooring have significant pros and cons and you need to do thorough research beforehand and assess you budget. Laminate floors are an effective substitute and very popular and for very good reason.

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